Andrés Segovia: Song of the Guitar, Beautifully Filmed at the Alhambra

Not long ago we post­ed a beau­ti­ful scene fea­tur­ing the leg­endary gui­tarist Andrés Segovia play­ing Johann Sebas­t­ian Bach at the Alham­bra, the sto­ried 14th cen­tu­ry Moor­ish palace in Grana­da, Spain. Today we’re pleased to bring you the entire 50-minute film from which it came, Andrés Segovia: The Song of the Gui­tar.

The doc­u­men­tary was made in 1976 by the South African-born film­mak­er Christo­pher Nupen. Segovia was 84 years old at the time. When he was a child liv­ing in Grana­da, Segovia loved to bring his gui­tar to the Alham­bra and play for friends. “It was here,” he says in the film, “that I opened my eyes to the beau­ty of nature and art. To be here is to feel one­self to be near, very near, par­adise.” Segovia is often described as the father of mod­ern clas­si­cal gui­tar. In the lin­er notes to the film, which is avail­able on DVD along with anoth­er film on Segovia by Nupen, it says:

As an instru­men­tal­ist, Segovia did for the gui­tar what Casals did for the cel­lo, but he did it with an instru­ment that had nev­er before been tak­en seri­ous­ly as a con­cert instru­ment. With­in his own life­time, Segovia taught him­self the instru­ment, rev­o­lu­tionised the tech­nique and ele­vat­ed a folk instru­ment to the high­est lev­els of the inter­na­tion­al con­cert plat­form. As a musi­cian, he has come to be recog­nised as one of the most refined and pro­found of his time.

In the film, Segovia rem­i­nisces about his ear­ly days in Grena­da and his hap­py dis­cov­ery of the gui­tar. He plays ten pieces, all beau­ti­ful­ly filmed in the court­yards of the Alham­bra:

  1. “Capri­cho Catalán” by Isaac Albéniz
  2. “La Maja de Goya” by Enrique Grana­dos
  3. “Torre Berme­ja” by Isaac Albéniz
  4. “Sonata in E Minor” by Domeni­co Scar­lat­ti
  5. “Min­uet” by Jean-Philippe Rameau
  6. “Min­uet” by Fer­nan­do Sor
  7. “Bal­let and Alle­gret­to” by Manuel Ponce
  8. “Gavotte I & II” by Johann Sebas­t­ian Bach
  9. “Leyen­da” by Isaac Albéniz
  10. “El Noi de la Mare” a Cata­lan folk song

Relat­ed Con­tent:

The Sto­ry of the Gui­tar: The Com­plete Three-Part Doc­u­men­tary

The Art of Mak­ing a Fla­men­co Gui­tar: 299 Hours of Blood, Sweat & Tears Expe­ri­enced in 3 Min­utes

The Gui­tar Prodi­gy from Karachi

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